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The Ultimate Guide to Nyanga

The Ultimate Guide to Nyanga

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The Ultimate Guide to Nyanga, Eastern Highlands, Zimbabwe

There are places that you visit that feel like a distant dream, that cannot be fully described- only experienced, no matter how beautifully captured through writing or photography. Nyanga is definitely one of them. It is a haven for nature-lovers and a destination that offers endless amounts of inspiration no matter how many times you visit. If you are planning on visiting Zimbabwe and looking to have an adventurous and culturally immersive experience, add Nyanga to the list.

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Best time of the year to visit

Nyanga is an all year round destination, however to get the best experience-travel from April through October. In this period you have a warm temperature and almost no precipitation.

Getting there

The easiest way to get acquainted with all of Nyanga’s best bits is by joining a guided tour or if you are more of a slow traveller and you would like to get more out of your trip choose to self-drive or get a personal guide. That way, you can really slow down and take it all in! Nyanga is a 4 hour drive from Harare, the capital city. Watch the scenery transform from urban sprawl to lush green countryside as you drive east out of Harare toward Nyanga- a place for hiking, endless waterfalls and memorable views. You’ll pass the small town of Rusape, and if you’re a fan of apples, plums or bananas, you can pick some up from a roadside stall in this region that’s covered in farms specializing in the tropical fruits.

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Places to stay

Nyanga covers a land area of roughly 300 km2, so deciding where to base yourself is key. Juliasdale is the best central area in Nyanga and also where you’ll find the widest variety of accommodation to match any budget. While it’s the perfect base to explore most of the gems included on this list of things to do in Nyanga, it’s important to plan according to your itinerary. If you really want to get acquainted with Nyanga’s best tourist attractions, it’s a good idea to make Juliasdale your base or book accommodation at various locations. With that in mind, here are the best places to stay in Nyanga.

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Budget: Nyanga National Park Chalets

Nyanga National Parks offers beautiful self-catering chalets with surprisingly affordable rates. There are one and two bedroom chalets. The glimmering Udu dam and lovely outdoor area is perfect for relaxing after a day out exploring all of Nyanga’s top attractions. You may also add early morning or sunset canoeing along the Udu dam when staying at the Nyanga national parks chalets.

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Price ranging from $70-$90 per chalet

Budget: Blue Swallows

Blue Swallows is another great option for budget accommodation in Nyanga. The chalets have a great view of the trout-filled lake and can accommodate up to 6 people.

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Price ranging from $180-$220 per chalet

Mid-range: Troutbeck Resort

With the main entrance of Nyanga national park a few kilometers away from Troutbeck resort, this is the perfect choice for travellers looking for an upscale stay. This 4-star resort offers elegant rooms with comfortable beds and a great breakfast to start off the day. There are also a variety of activities offered by the resort including quad biking, horse riding and boat cruise on the lake.

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Price ranging from $180-$200 per room

Luxury: Skydeck Mountain Retreat

Skydeck Mountain Retreat sits on an elevated position granting visitors a panoramic view of the Nyangani mountains. The mountain retreat comprises an intimate unit that can only takes 4 guests at a time with 2 ensuites, a hot tub and an outdoor shower. There are also 3 beautiful villas that can accommodate upto 6 guests at a time. These villas are fully serviced, and provide a personal guide, chef with all meals and drinks included in the rate per night.

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Price ranging from $350-$450 per person per night

Things to do: Summit Mount Nyangani

At 2,593m, Mt Nyangani is the highest mountain in Zimbabwe. The hike is a 2-3 hour hike up and 1-2 hours descending. The entire hike up and down takes 3-5 hours , hiking at moderate pace. The first 2 km of the hike are the toughest, however the rest of the stretch features a moderately paved path. Hike through a maze of unusual rock formations and you will find yourself at the edge of the escarpment with jaw-dropping views. The summit gives you an unforgettable 360 degree view of the scenic surroundings that you will forget all the pain when you reach the summit.

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National park entrance fee: $5 for locals | $10 for Internationals | Guide fee: $20

Things to do: Hunt for Waterfalls

With so many beautiful waterfalls in Nyanga, it’s hard to keep track of them all. While you can spot some waterfalls a few kilometres from the main entrance of the national park, others involve following pothole-studded gravel roads deep into timberland. The western tip of Nyanga national park, in particular, is a great place to start as it is closer to other activities within the national park. Some of the most iconic falls include Mutarazi falls, Nyangombe falls, Nyamuziwa falls, Pungwe falls and Nyakupika Waterfalls. Each one is unique and definitely deserves a spot on your list of things to do in Nyanga! However, if you only have time to see one or two, make sure it’s one of these:

Nyangombe Falls

The Nyangombe falls are exquisite providing a very close and intimate experience to the traveller. The descent into the falls is about 100m although there is a steep curve that has to be navigated slowly and carefully. The whole area surrounding the falls is unadulterated providing a purely scenic view of the Nyangombe Falls. The drive to the falls is 2km from the Udu camp which in itself is 2km from Nyanga highway. This gives 4km from the Nyanga highway to reach the Nyangombe falls.

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Mutarazi Falls

The Mutarazi Falls is the highest waterfall in Zimbabwe and second highest waterfall in Africa and it is situated in the Nyanga national park. To get a glimpse of the waterfall, you can walk along various walkways, thick bushes and learn more about the diverse plant life that makes this part of Nyanga so famous. The entire trail only takes 20 minutes to complete, but you can easily spend more time here.

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Get your thrills at the Skyline and Skywalk

If the viewing point of Mutarazi falls is not enough action for you, well, then you’re in for a real treat! You can also zip or skyline across the valley on a 400 m long zipline above the valley floor or walk across the ravine on a 90m and 40 m -long suspension bridge to get a panoramic view of the second highest waterfall in Africa.

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Entrance fee: National Park fees $5 for locals $10 for Internationals | Skywalk $40 per person | Skyline $80 | Skywalk and Skyline Combo $100

History and Culture

To learn more about the history and culture of Nyanga, visit the Pit structures in the Nyanga national park. The pits were made of close fitting stones without mortar. The Rhodes Museum is also a must visit for background and understanding of the history, natural heritage and culture of the Nyanga area. The exhibits include locally excavated tools and artefacts from the Stone Age period and explain life in the Iron Age In Nyanga up to modern day civilisation.

Entrance fee for Rhodes Museum: $3 adults $2 children

Nyanga has a lot more activities including World’s view, swimming in Lake Connemara, Quad Biking along the trails of Nyanga national park, fishing the famous trout fish. If you are interested in agro-tourism and gastronomy- there are a lot of farms that offer tours including Nyamoro dairy farm and Froggy farm where you get the chance to experience where the food is grown and how they make their food leaving a great memory of your Nyanga experience.

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Places to eat

The Beck Restaurant at Troutbeck Resort is the ideal spot for a buffet or ala carte dinner, a family lunch.

Nyamoro Dairy Tea Garden is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and they serve the best desserts. The farm is a great place for children to experience farm life.

Froggy Farm Store and Cafe, a trip to Nyanga is incomplete without the mandatory Froggy farm stop. The famous stop is home to delicious jams made from Nyanga fruits and now a cosy container cafe where you can purchase a fresh coffee, pizza and many more.

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While this post barely scratches the surface of amazing things to do In Nyanga, it will give you a well rounded glimpse of the tourist attractions on offer and authentic experiences in Nyanga.

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All prices in U.S. Dollars | Image Credits: Afronomads, Blue Swallows, Troutbeck, Skydeck Luxury Resort, Lesanne Photography